What we really have here is a perfect storm of ideologies overtaking common sense. Gates and Obama don’t necessarily share the same ideology, but they are useful to one another nonetheless. Gates has bought into the 4GW, the future is in counterinsurgency and therefore airplanes, ships, tanks, etc. are irrelevant ideology. Obama, as many predicted, is just more focused on domestic issues than defense. He doesn’t necessarily buy into a theory of future warfare, just sees these projects as money that could be spent elsewhere. So, none of this has anything to do with solving real problems. A true assessment of the difficulties facing the economy, along with a look at what is happening in the world, should indicate that canceling force modernization efforts across the board, which is the Obama-Gates plan, is good for neither the economy, nor the military. But this si not about doing what’s good or makes sense; it’s about adhering to ideology come what may.
Perhaps the most controversial program in Mr. ObamaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s sights is the Air ForceÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s advanced F-22 fighter jet, which the Bush administration tried for years to halt, saying it was a cold war relic. Mr. Korb and other analysts say that if the president is determined to fix the contracting process, canceling the F-22 would send a strong signal.
Gordon Adams, a professor at American University in Washington, said parts of the $10 billion missile defense programs, which are still being tested, represent ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œlow-hanging fruitÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â for Mr. Obama. His team might also cancel a radar-evading $3.3 billion destroyer that even the Navy says it can no longer afford. And the ArmyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s sweeping $160 billion modernization plan seems likely to be scaled back.
Missile defense is so obviously irrelevant. With Iran test firing long range missiles, and North Korea preparing to do the same, and even threatening war if we attempt to shoot it down, anyone can see that there’s no reason why we would want to develop missile defense systems. And beyond that, since when does the Air Force need airplanes, the Navy ships, or the Army new tanks, artillery, armored transports, etc.? [sarcasm] – post by TransTracker
Many studies, including those by the Government Accountability Office and Pentagon boards, have shown that many weapons projects start out with unrealistically low cost estimates, depend on technologies that are not ready and face constant changes in design requirements.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThe root cause is that youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ve got an ever-changing kaleidoscope of entities involved in the decisions, and nobody has the authority to just say no and be held accountable for it,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said John F. Lehman, the first secretary of the navy in the Reagan administration. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s what has to change.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
While I don’t want to defense massive cost overruns (because I agree it’s a problem), this argument makes a number of unrealistic assumptions about teh way technological change works. First, of course the technologies are “not ready.” That’s why it’s called “research and development.” It will not be perfect on day one. And the fact that it is not perfect on day one is not evidence that it will never work. This is an argument that gets leveled constantly against new weapon systems. Second, design requirements will change, and indeed should change. As the R&D process moves forward, as new lessons are learned, and as mission requirements, the likely environment of conflict, etc., all change, so will dessign requirements. Third, multiple entities will and should have input. Taken altogether, it is unrealistic and indesirable to have one authority that works to create a new system only from existing technologies where the design is fixed from the beginning and unresponsive both to lessons learned during development and from input from other entities. – post by TransTracker